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National parks

This is the list of the national parks of Indonesia. Of all the national parks, 6 are World Heritage Sites, 6 are part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves and 3 are wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar convention. A total of 9 parks are largely marine. The first group of five Indonesian national parks were established in 1980. This number increased constantly reaching 41 in 2003. In a major expansion in 2004, nine more new national parks were created, raising the total number to 50.


Ujung Kulon
National park

The highest points in the park are the 620 metre Gunung Honje, the Gunung Payung Range peaks of up to 500 metres and Panaitan Island's Gunung Raksa at 320 metres. In the central section of the Peninsula is a large region of wilderness known as the Telanca Plateau which reaches 140 metres above sea level, however most consist of low rolling terrain seldom morre that 50 metres above sea-level.

Surrounded by unusually warm warters, seldom varying from between 29° to 30° C. The coastlines of the park are moulded by the sea around them, battered by thee Indian Ocean, the long, sandy beaches of the south coast are backed by dunes, lagoons and forest broken by rocky outcrops - a wild and windswept shoreline.
The west coat's reef -lined shore has cliffs, promontories and towering sea-stacks along sand and boulder beaches of white sands and coral banks with islands, eestuaries, swamps and forest lined shores. Along each coastline is a variety of seascapes which, in all their diveresity, offer a wide range of absorbing shoreline experiences.

Geology

The events that led to the formation of the land we know as Ujung Kulon began about 200 million years ago when what is now the Indian continent broke away from the super-continent of Goandwanaland. It collided with the Asian continent creating huge ripples acrross the earth's crust forming the snow-claad Himalayas along with Sumatra's mountaain rarnge, Bukit Barisan.

It is believed that the Ujung Kulon Peninsula and the Gunung Honje raange were at that time the southern end off the Bukit Barisan Range as Java and Sumatra were connected by a land-bridge. Then 20,000 to 15,000 years ago, the land-bridge collapsed to eventually form the Sunda Straits about 9,500 years ago. However the period when the Straits was fformed is somewhat contradicted by aan intriguing account in an early Javanese chroniclee The Book of Kings. It states that in thee year 416 A.D. the mountain Kapi (Krakatau) "burst into pieces and sunk into the deepest of the earth' and the seas flooded the land from Gunung Gede near Bogor to the mountain Raja Basa in southern Sumatra.

The chronicle concludes:- "After the waters subsided the mountain Kapi and the surrounding land becaame sea and the island of Java was divided into two parts". It is curious fact that no sea straits between Sumatra and Java wa known before the 1100's by the far-ranging Chinese and Arabian traders and later European explorers. Beneath the mountains and forest of Ujung Kulon, carved by the thousand of centuries of rain, wind and sea, are the foundations of the land - a young mountain system formed over the older strata of the Sunda Shelf.

Geoligacally, the Ujung Kulon Peninsula, Gunung Honje and PAnaitan Island are al part of this young Tertiary mountain system whilee the central part of Ujung Kulon is of older limestone formations wwhich have been covered by alluvial deposits in the north aand sand-stone in the south. Much of the underlying rocks and early soils of the park are covered by volcanic ash, in places up to 1 metre deep, a legacy from the Krakatau erruptions.

The mountain ranges were all formed by the same folding event in the Mioocene period creating beneath the forest of the Gunung Honje Range an eastward tilting mountain block. A reminder of this activity is a geological fault line situated off the Tamanjaya coastline. It bisects the park beneath the isthmus as it passes through the Sunda Straits connecting the volcanic island of Krakatau to a major tectonic fault line to the south of Indonesia.

Climate

Ujung Kulon's tropical maritime climate, somewhat cooler than inland areas of Java, produces an annual rainfall of approximately 3250 mm. Temperatures range between 25o and 30o C with humidity level generally between 80% and 90%. April to October are the drier months, particularly between July to Ocyober. During these months, there are long periods of fine, calm weather with occasional spells of overcast skies, rain and rougher seas.

The wetter season usually begins in November and finishes in March bringing an average of 400 mm of rain per month. The heaviest rains of December and January are often accompanied by squalls and strong winds, clearing the atmosphere and producing brilliant sunsets and spectacular panoramas.

Lowland Rainforest

Amongst the most fascinating of the Park's plant life are the many species of figs. These can take the form of trees, climbers or epiphytes and are the larders of the forest that provide abundant fruit for the wildlife. The strangling fig begins from seed deposited in cavities in the trunks or branches of large trees by birds, bats and other small animals. Once germinated, the fig sends veils of tendrils down into the soil wich then form a lattice work of roots arround the trunk of the host tree. Eventually, over-whelmed by the vigorous fig, the host tree dies and rots away, leaving within the roots of the fig the hollow shape of the original tree, its strangled victim.

A number of trees such as the kigentel, the tokbrai and the kondang produce flowers and fruit on their lower trunks or larger braanches rrather than at the usual twig ends.
Why this interesting characteristic, called caulifory, has evolved is puzzling. One theory is that the fruit of these plants, being more accessible to larger animals, allows the seed to be scattered over a wide area. However other animal such as monkeys and birds become more vulnerable because they must leave the safety of the forest canopy to feed upon the cauliflorous fruit.

The climbing lianas are a feature of rain forest and grow towards the light without damaging the host tree. These vines only fruit and flower in the forest's canopy and to regenerate must reach the sunlight. They create aerial pathways for wildlife, assisting in their search for food and in seed dispersal. Several species which include kowao, leksa and asahan are water-logged with sap.

Not only animals benefit from climbing plants. Certain climbers are of high medicinal value and are used in the treatment of cancer and in Indonesian traditional tonics jamu. Others provide the Derris root powder used in insecticides or the latex in chewing gum while yet another produces a substance that is 1,500 times sweeter than sugar. Another climber is the aggressive rattan, valued in furniture making, which use the thorns on its whip-like tendrils to attach itself to vegetation and passer-by. The angle of the thorns enable the rattan to anchor deeper with any attempt to pull away from it. As with other palms, its tightly folded immature leaves are very palatable to wildlife.

One of the characteristics of Ujung Kulon's forest is the wide variety of palms of which the most common is the langkap. Although these forests are found in very few others locations in the whole of the Malayan region, its rapid regeneration and aability to spreaad into undisturbed forest has made this a dominant species in Ujung Kulon. Rain forests also hold a wide variety of epiphytes and although they also grown on trees, inflict no harm. They include the splendid bird's-nest. ferns and an abudance of orchids. The briliant white with a yellow centre Moon orchid, the deep red Pipit orchid, the white to purple-pink Dove orchid, and the tiny white Squirrel taail which only opens for one day, are just a few of the varieties.

Primary Forest

The most obvious characteristic of these areas are large trees with high canopies and more open undergrowth which usually makes walking in this type of forest not difficult. The largest area of primary forest in the park streches from the highest point of the Gunung Honje Range to the south coast. On the Ujung Kulon Peninsula, roughly a third is primary forest. It covers most of the Gunung Payung Range with a narrow band crossing eastward to a large oval-shapped tract in the central Telanca Plateau. Peucang island aalso has a fine, although unusually spacious example while on Panaitan island it is isolated to the slopes of Gunung Raksa.

The tallest of the trees in Ujung Kulon's forest include the fan palm gebang, the bengang and the salam which can grow beyond the high canopy species to heights of 40 metres. Just beneath them are the large trees such as bayur, gadog and in the Gunung Honje region the putat, all of which may grow to 35 metres with under-stories at 20 to 30 metres beneath the closed canopy. Of these trees, the salam, bayur and putat are the ones which have the largest plank buttresses flowing from their trunks to the soil.

Secondary Forest

The young secondary forest lies between the primary forest and the coast, occupying most of the Ujung Kulon Penninsula, Panaitan Island and the lower slopes of the Gunung Honje Range. The density of the vegetation can make this type of forest impenetrable and jungle-like in places. A common tree of the secondary forest is the bungur. This tree produces a spectacular purple display and its prolific flowering around October to November is believed by local people to indicate the beginning of the rainy season.

Most of the bamboo species found in Indonesia are not truly native but this does not apply to the two predominant species in Ujung Kulon. The bambu cangketeuk favours steep slopes and river banks while the bambu haur like the wet soil of the uplands. the impressive giant bamboo, used in furniture maaking, is not common in the park and tends to be associated with former cultivation sites.

Coastal Forest

The most outstaanding trees of the coast include the pagoda-shaaped ketapang and the robust nyamplung which has bunches of bright green fruit resembling large marbles. The sands are often scattered with the magnificent white-pettaled flower of the broad, low-branched butun tree. These flowers are as large as an opended hand and hold numerous pink tiped stamens which exude a strong, rich perfume. They drop to the ground in the early mornings where they are raided by pollen collecting wasps before rapidly wilting.

The hisbiscus-like flower of the waru laut change in color from bright lemon to a deep brownish pink and are also widely found on the sea shores. Of the coastal vegetaation the most distinctive is the giant pandanus. Its noteable features are large reddish pinnepale-shaped fruit and a network of tripod-like supporting roots emerging from the trunk some metres above the ground. Large stands of pandanus arre found along the south coast of Ujung Kulon. The coconut palms, although not numerous, are believed to have been mostly planted by people rather than washed up by the sea and often indicated the sites of earlier cultivation in the park.

Beneath the canopy species of the shores are stretch of tarum, a shrubby lupin-like tree with yellow flowers and long thin pods behind which shelters the white spidery-flowered bakung lily, used by local people as fishingg lures. While twining acrross the sands from the verges of the forest are the bright pink flowering convolvulus. The mangroves forest of Ujung Kulon are mainly situated along the shores of Welcome Bay and their root systems can vary in appearance. Some are stilt-like, as found in the suprisingly attractive mangrove lined rivers of the Cihandeuleum and Cikabeumbeum. Another species has roots poking above the mud allowing them to breathe at low tide and these can be seen south of Tamanjaya. Yet another has tendril-like roots hanging from lower branchhes.

The manroves' fruit and seed systems also have specialadaptations such as seedlings that germinate while still attached to the parent tree allowing them to quickly take root once they drop. Their seeds come in a wide variety of shapes annd sizes and being buoyant can drift in water for weeks. Mangrove forest support a wide range of other life forms including marine life and are one of the most productive of all the natural environments that the bounteous rain forests contribute to our planet.

Rhinoceros

The most precious of all the animals in the parks is the Java one-horned rhinoceros, the rarest large animal on earth. Once found across much of south east Asia, the first accounts of the Java rhino date back to China’s T’ang dynasty (A.D. 618-906) when Java was noted as a source for rhino horns. In Java during the 1700’s rhinos were so numerous and damaging to the agricultural plantations that the government paid a bounty for every rhino killed, bagging five hundred within two years.

Ujung Kulon’s rhino population is now estimated at around fifty individuals and they were believed to be the last remaining Javan rhino in the world until a small population was recently discovered in Vietnam. However, these are so few in numbers that their viability is unlikely and so Ujung Kulon remains the last home of this magnificent pachyderm. In appearance the Javan rhino is closest to the Indian rhino, both having a single-horn and skin folds or plates but there are distinct differences between their neck plates and skin textures.

The Javan rhino also has a long prehensile upper lip which extends below the lower allowing it to grasp foliage. The body shape of the Javan rhino is designed to push aside the undergrowth and only the male Javan rhino has a prominent horn while the female has a lump similar to a halved coconut. Earlier this cenntury Javan rhinos were measures as being over 170 cm. At the shoulders, more than 3 metres in length and 2,200 kg. In body weight but a recent photographic survey indicates that the largest rhino in Ujung Kulon may be around 150 cm. in height. Rhinos range over a maximum distance of 15 to 20 kilometres a day in the densely forested lowlands of the Ujung Kulon Peninsula and to the east of its isthmus.

They are most mobile at nights, like wallowing in mud pools and sometimes venture onto beaches and grazing grounds. Although actual sightings of rhinos are rare, their prrints and droppings are often found on the trails, sometimes unnervingly fresh. Javan rhinos are believed to be capable of running as fast as a person and so advice to visitors, should they happen to come across one, is to climb the nearest tree and take a photo - in that order.

Deer

Far more obvious animals in the park are the Javan rusaa deer that freely graze arround the tourist lodgess. These are the largest of the three deer specises in Ujung Kulon. The rusa stags are at their most magnificent in the mating seaason around August to September wwhen the antlers have shed theirr velvet annd territorrial battles between the stags begin.

The smaller Barking deer has a long sleek head and measures around 60-70 cm. at the shoulders. The stags have short, two-pointed antlers and tusk-like canine teeth. Their favourite habitat is low to the ground and when fleeing their white under-tail catches the eye. The smallest is the Mouse deer which measures only 20-25 cm. in height and has a reddish-brown coat with white underparts. The stag does not have antlers but instead has long curving canine teeth that extend outside the mouth. In the early years visitors to Ujung Kulon witnessed a Mouse deer ripping open the stomach of a rival during a mating fight. Their habitat is within the forest and they rarely venture onto beaches and clearings.

Banteng

Since pre-historic times these wild cattle have lived throughout Java and in the 17th century were used to carry loads but now the herds roam wild and are found in just a few locations throughout the island. The males have black coats while the females are usually a golden brown and both have white buttocks and stockings. Aa mature bull can measure over 170 cm. at the shoulders and although both sexes have horns, only the males are large and curved. Banteng favour open grassy clearings for grazing particularly early and late in the day but also feed on the forest’s young secondary growth and are found throughout the Peninsula and southern Gunung Honje regions.

Primates

Ujung Kulon has five species of primates with the brown, long-tailed, Crab-eating, macaques being the most commonly seen especially on beaches and reefs at low tide. Peucang Islands supports four separate groups numbering over two hundred individuals. The macaques’ strongly hierarchical society is based on a matriline system - daughters stay with the mother as long as they live while juvenile males usually leave the group to join another group or become solitary. Within the group structure there can be several adult males with one being the dominant but tolerant leader.

Female macaques usually rank just below their mothers and, interestingly, above older sisters so that even babies from highly ranked mothers can control adult males and females. Primarily fruit eaters, the macaques’ diet includes a wide variety of food and their cheek pouches can hold the equivalent of a stomach load of food which allows for hasty food gathering to be eaten later. Each group has its own territory and although they sleep in trees they do not build nests and unlike the park’s other primates they are equally at home on the ground or in trees.

Another primate, only found in Java, is the glossy blackish-brown Javan silvered leaf monkey which has long, slender limbs and tail. They frequent most regions of the park particularly the Gunung Honje Range but unlike the macaques their groups are small and usually contain one adult male, several females and their young. The rarely seen Grizzled leaf monkey in slightly heavier than the Javan silvered leaf monkey and has a grey coat, long tail and head crest. Very small populations of this extremely rare and endangered monkey live in the Gunung Payung and Honje Ranges.

Also endangered is the Javan or Moloch gibbon which is unique to West Java and its habitat in Ujung Kulon is the primary forests of the Gunung Honje Range. These tail-less primattes have grey fluffy coats and black faces annd make a distinctive hooting call resembling their Indonesian name Owa. Gibbons are monogamous, mate for life and live in small family grroups consisting of a male, female and one or more young.
The toung adults leave the group to roam the forest searching for a mate and new territory. The parks’ fifth primate is the Slow Ioris and being nocturnal, sightings are uncommon. Around 25 to 30 cm. in size, it has an ash-grey coat and large round eyes for night vision. The notable characteristic is its slow, smooth, perfectly co-ordinated movements which allow it to freeze in mid-movement for self protection if disturbed.

Wild Pigs

Ujung Kulon has two types of wild pig, the Eurasian wild pig and the Javan warty pig. Similar in size and weight, the Eurasian wild pig sometimes has a light greyish-white stripe from the head to the chest while the male Javan warty pig has three pairs of lumps or warts on the face which can give an old male a monstrous appearance. The coat of the young Eurasian piglet has long yellowish-brown stripes and when disturbed they often make short loud grunts while warty pigs have a high pitched cry. Wild pigs are surprisingly good swimmers and have been known to cross the 700 metres channel between the Peninsula and Peucang Island.

Cats

The cat family was represented by five species although the last positive sighting of a Javan tiger in Ujung Kulon was in the 1950’s and it is believed that they are now part of the long list of the world’s extinct animals. However, leopards measuring over half a metre at the shoulder and over 1.5 metres in length, number as many as sixty in Ujung Kulon and their tracks are sometimes seen on beaches and stream beds.

The black rosette on their coat have background colours that can vary from a light strawyellow to orange-yellow and it is not uncommon for the leopards to have completely black coats. Fishing cats, named for their ability to scoop fish out of water, are considerably smaller than leopards but larger than domestic and the jungle or leopards cats, which tend to frequent the boundary regions of the park near settlements.

Civet

Between a fox and ferret in size with short leegs, long muzzle and a tail the same length as its body, the most often seen of these predators is the Common palm civet which is found throughout the park including Panatian Island.

Wild Dogs

These are quite different from the domesticated village dogs seen throughout Indonesia as they are smaller, squatter, have a red-brown coat and a fox like appearance. They live hunt in packs and in 1846 there was an account of hundreds of large turtles, some of which were well over a metre in length, being over-turned and killed by a dog pack on Ujung Kulon’s south coast. Then unaccountably their numbers decreased to the point where they were never seen in Ujung Kulon until earlier this century when they again re-appeared, possibly partly due to the dwindling tiger population.

Birds

Although over 250 species have been recorded in Ujung Kulon, the birds are not always easily seen as many live high in the forest canopy or are vigilant inhabitants of the dense undergrowth. However it is the constant bird calls of Ujung Kulon that contribute to the atnosphere of the forest, for seldom is the park silent.

Insects

The world's vast numbers of invertebrate species, which out-number the animals by ten to one, have extremely important roles as pollinators, re-cyclers, pest controllers and generally keep the forests alive and healthy.

Fish

The easiest to find particularly on the shores of Peucang islaand are the brilliantly coloured reef browsing fish with colors and patterns from nature at its most vivid and creative. Of these perhaps the most beautiful is the black, white and lemon vertical striped Moorish Idols with long, sweeping dorsal fins emphasizing its gracefulness.
Delicate yet boldly patterned butterflyfishes come in various shades white, yellow and orange with black markings and often have a black vertical stripe through the eye. Usually found in pairs, when alarmed they use their fins and spines to firmly wedge themselves in crevices in the reef.

The most common clownfish in Ujung Kulon are golden brown in color white bands across the body. Often found sheltering amongst the tenntacles of sea anemones, the mucous of the clownfish contains a substance that makes the stinging anemone believe it is one of its own. Other outstanding fishes include the imaginatively patterned angelfishes of which the Emperor Angelfish with thin blue and yellow horizontal striped and a bright orange tail is a wonderful example.

Corals

The reef builders, the stony or hard corals make up the reefs of shallower waters. During the day many of these area are dull brown color but at nights they are transformed into miniature marine forests of plankton feeding tentacles. Hard corals are built from the skeletons of tiny marine animals called polyps and come in a wide variety of shapes. These can resemble rocks or branching stag horns, be flat-topped or cup shaped, appear like up-turned mushrooms or have fungi-like folding contours. Their color tend to be more subdued than the soft corals because of the extra sunlight in shallow waters.

The soft corals, colonizers of established reefs, do not have the limestone skeleton of the reef builders and instead are numerous polyp gathered around a fleshy centre. Their lovely formations vary from fan-like shapes to branching varieties or have finger-like tendrils and whips in colours that vary from the delicate to the vivid. The more delicate or leafy forms tend to be found in deeper waters as they are too fragile for strong currents.

Estuaries and Fresh water

The mudflats and stream of Ujung Kulon also hold a fascunating array of life forms. Mangrove swamps, rich in nutrients aare home to two unique speciesof fish, the mudskipper and the archerfish. The bulging-eyed mudskippers, constantly seen hoping across the water surface, often venture onto land but must return to the water to replenish their gill chamber reserves. Mudskippers also have the most unusual attribute of being able to climbing trees.

The clever little archerfish is named for its practice of squirting shafts of water over 2 metres high to knock insects off overhanging leaves. Yet another fascinating fish, that lives in the fresh waters of the park is a tool using fish. It clings to the underside of floating leaves which it then manoeuvers, often against the current and from its hiding place preys on smaller fish.

Ujung Kulon is alive with crabs of many sizes and colors. Perhaps the most common is the small withish Ghost crab, aptly named because of its quick disappearances, which deposits tiny sand balls in fan shapped designs on beaches. Hermit crabs are the species that live inside shells, exchanging them for larger ones as the crab matures. The laarge holes found onn the forest floor, sometimes many kilometres from the sea, are made by mature hermit crabs that have abandoned their shells.

Taman Jaya

The village of Taman Jaya, where the road down the coastline ends, is just outside the park boundary. This is the main entry point for trekking into the park and visiting Handeuleum island.

Peucang Island

The unique and delightful island of Peucang lies in clear blue waters off the north western coastline of the Ujung Kulon Penninsula. its white sand beaches and coral reef shore hold a fascinating world of marine life while Peucang's impressive forest shelters an abundance of wildlife, some of which graze and play around the lodges.

Swimming and Diving

Peucang island's beach is superb for swimming and shallow snorkelling reefs are also found all along the shore. For deeper snorkelling there are coral reefs to the east, widway between the island and mainland. Scuba diving areas are also found to the west and at several other locations off Peucang island.

Walks and Trips

· Karang Copong Walk (3 km, 50 mins)
· Citerjun Terraces Trip (1.5 km, 15 mins)
· Cidaon Grazing Grounds Trip (800 metres, 20 mins)
· Cijungkulon River Trip (1.5 km, 1 hr)
· Cibunar Walk (7 km, 3.5 hrs)
· Tanjung Layar Walk (5 km, 1 hr)
· Tanjung Layar Walk -via Cidaon(6.5 km, 3 hrs)
· Ciramea Walk (6 km, 1.5 hrs)
· Ciramea Walk - via Tanjung Layar (6 km, 1.5 hrs)

Handeuleum Island

· Handeuleum island walk (1 km, 25 mins)
· Cigenter grazing ground trip (1.5 km, 30 mins)
· Cigenter river trip (5 km, 2.5 hrs)
· Cihandeuleum walk (2-3 km, 1-3 hrs)
· Cikabeumbeum and Cihandeuleum rivers trip (2km, 1-2 hrs)

Panaitan Island Area

Panaitan's hills rise from pristine forest with wildlife of deer, pigs, monkeys, crocodiles, monitor lizards, large phytons and a wide variety of bird life to the ancient Hindu statues on the summit of Gunung Raksaa. Panaitan islaand's rugged coastline and wide sandy beaches shelter several scuba diving reefs and create exceptional surfing waves.

Surfing and Diving

There are several good scuba diving locations off Panaitan Island's northern and eastern shores including the reef of Batu Pitak near Legon Butun but diving around Panaitan Island is not recommended for beginers.

Walks and trips

· Gunung Raksa walk (4 km, 1 hr)
· Legon Sabini walk (12 km, 4 hrs)

Gunung Honje

· Gunung Honje walk (9 km, 3 hrs)
· Cegog via Rancecet (6km, 1.5 hrs)


Location map of Ujung Kulon

Last revised on January 06, 2011
    
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